Elizabeth is happily working in the Cardinal Hume Centre charity shop, as she rebuilds her confidence and her life. She came to the Centre after loosing her job and her home, but thanks to the Centre staff she looking forward to a brighter future.
When Elizabeth lost her job as a care worker, she could no longer afford her flat, and so moved in with her family. “After loosing my job, I went to live with family, but not everyone wanted me to stay. When I came back one day – all my clothes were in bin bags outside, and the locks had been changed.
“The first night I slept at a train station, it was a Thursday, so it was alright. But, on Friday with all the drunk people about I was frightened. I rang one agency who told me to find a place to hide such as a garage, church hall, or an empty building. I spent over two weeks like this”.
Elizabeth spent all her time walking from one place to another; every hostel had either closed down, or did not have a spare room. Eventually she found a hostel room in Westminster – just around the corner from the Cardinal Hume Centre.
“One day I was walking past and I saw a sign saying ‘The Cardinal Hume Centre, Transforming Lives’ and I thought – this is the starting point for a broken life, this could be your beginning.
“As soon as I walked in, everyone was so kind and helpful. Every problem I have, anything I need help with the Centre is there. They have helped with housing, financial problems and given me hope again. They helped me to write my CV and now I am applying for jobs . I also have a mentor – he is always reminding me that I can do it. I can open up to him without fear, he demands results and I can rely on him.
“My mentor told me about the charity shop, and I have been volunteering here for months now. Working has given me my confidence back. I realise that I can still contribute, I can still be a useful person despite my age” says Elizabeth jokingly. “ I’ve not been bought up to be a beggar, I don’t want handouts. Working gives me self worth again.
“I know now that the Centre is exactly what it says – it transforms lives. All these things have made such a difference to my life. They open the doors, but I know that it’s for me to enter.”